New Resource Provides Data On Young Children Of Immigrants

Sep 01, 2009

The Urban Institute's new Children of Immigrants Data Tool is a useful resource for policymakers and others seeking comprehensive knowledge of the current state of young children in immigrant families. How do young children in immigrant families fare in the U.S., and what unique challenges may face them? The tool compiles data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) and provides information essential to understanding the present landscape, such as the number and percentage of children in immigrant families, nationally and by state, as well as the parent and family characteristics of these children. ACS data from 2005 and 2006 are currently in the tool, which will be updated as new information is released by the Census Bureau. Users can generate customizable charts or tables (downloadable into Excel) that feature one or more of 21 demographic, social, and economic factors, including:

  • Age breakdown with young children divided into two groups, ages 0-3 and 4-5
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Citizenship and immigrant status of children and parents
  • Children's school enrollment and parent's education
  • English proficiency
  • Employment and income status of household

Accompanying the data tool is a new Urban report, Children of Immigrants: National and State Characteristics, which summarizes key findings from the tool's database. The report's findings highlight the importance of having early care and education policies that support the needs of children in immigrant families. Among the findings, young children are more likely than older children to be in immigrant families. Nationally, children of immigrant families represent 24 percent of young children, ages 0-5, while representing 21 percent of school-age children, ages 6-17. In addition, the report finds that there may be some under-enrollment in early education among young children in immigrant families. In 2005-2006, 22 percent of children, ages 3-5, who attended preschool or kindergarten were from immigrant families. Yet, children from immigrant families accounted for 24 percent of the preschool-age population. Although 1.9 million preschool-age children in immigrant families attended an early education program, another 1.3 million were not enrolled. This finding suggests that states can increase action to ensure that immigrant families with young children are informed of and have access to high-quality early education.

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